Have you acted as the primary caregiver for your grandchildren? Today, many grandparents are either primary or secondary caregivers.
If you have concerns about the well-being of your grandchildren, you may wonder what you can do to gain custody. This is what you should know about gaining custody of your minor grandkids.
Typically, parents have legal guardianship over their children. However, when a probate court receives a guardianship petition, the judge orders an investigation and hearing.
The parents can consent or the judge can decide to award you guardianship based on other factors, such as abandonment, abuse, failure or inability to provide proper care, relationship or the best interests of the child. However, the parents retain their rights and can apply for visitation or reinstatement of their guardianship.
If your grandchildren’s parents are unfit or abuse your grandkids, you can apply for custody. You need to prove your claims to the Superior Court. However, the parents may receive visitation rights and have to pay child support.
Informal custody is also an option if you and your grandchildren’s parents agree to the terms of the custody. You may need more than a written and signed letter to enroll the children in school and get them medical care.
A judge can terminate the parental rights for both of your grandkids’ parents, giving you the legal right to adopt them and raise them as your own. The parents can voluntarily terminate their rights, or the courts may do so under specific circumstances, such as abuse and neglect. The probate court judge will review your competence, relationship with the children and fitness to be a parent.
In every custody case, judges typically rule based on the best interests of the kids, so prepare to show you are the best choice.